Let us turn our attention to Laphroaig’s Quarter Cask edition of its famous Islay whisky. As you may recall from my previous post, Where is Scotch Whisky Produced, this area is known for peat flavoured whiskies.
The Quarter Cask is a double matured product. It is first matured in oak casks and then, for a short period, in what is known as a quarter cask. According to Laphroaig, this is the method used over two centuries ago and results in a “velvety sweetness” to compliment their traditional peaty whisky. The product is non-chill and barrier filtered. It is bottled at 48% alcohol by volume.
According to the box, the inspiration for using the quarter casks comes from the types of casks used in the 19th century to carry the product by packhorse. In order to become more efficient and economical, larger barrels were later used for both maturing and transporting the product.
Laphroaig claims that the smaller cask “gives up to 60% more contact with the wood compared to some of the larger sizes used today”. We are to assume that this enhances the flavour of the product.
The legs of this light gold coloured whisky appear to run slower than most, and a bit thicker.
On the nose, the peat is inescapable. Very strong and instantly recognized.
On the palate, we get a whisky tasting primarily of peat, wood, smoke, slightly chewy with hints of caramel. Fabulous first impression.
The finish is long and peaty mixing in some sweet notes.
Adding water remarkably improves this whisky. Add more than a few drops, you will not be disappointed. Slightly chilled seems to work best. In my experience, the higher the alcohol content, the more flexibility there is with the addition of water.
The nose is now more complex. The peat remains, but gives way to some sweetness. Fruits, honey, and figs. Also, some seaweed at the top.
The palate is once again primarily peaty, but rich hues of wood and honey come out in full force. Much sweeter than before, the figs come out and the whisky is more velvety than chewy. Fantasticly light, yet full of flavour.
The finish is once again long, sweet, and peaty. It leaves behind some of the wood experienced on the palate and ends dry.
Overall, this whisky is quite the adventure. Having not experienced any of their other products, I’m not sure what impact the lack of an age statement on the bottle has on the final result. However, this is a light whisky that still manages to provide a rich and fulfilling whisky tasting experence.
Available now at the saq at a reasonable price.